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Icons and Innovators to be Honored at Eighth Annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction

By on February 9, 2022 0

Live Event at MacMurray Estate Vineyards May 6, 2022

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (February 9, 2022) – Sonoma County Vintners, in conjunction with presenting sponsor American AgCredit, will honor four Sonoma County icons and innovators at the Sonoma County Barrel Auction (SoCoBA) to be held at MacMurray Estate Vineyards on Friday, May 6, 2022. Icons and innovators have been named and will be recognized for their pioneering and forward-thinking contributions to Sonoma County and the wine community. During the event, a new collection of “never before, never again” wines from leading Sonoma County winemakers will be auctioned for professional buyers.

“This event is an important program to raise awareness of Sonoma County’s world-class wines for a national business audience. It’s the perfect time to shine a light on the incredible talent and accomplishments of iconic and innovative winemakers in our local wine community,” said Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney. “These people have forged a path for Sonoma County wines to be world-renowned and continue to improve winemaking techniques and vine care that are widely adopted. We are honored that they continue to care so deeply for their craft and share their expertise with our wine community.”

Sonoma County Icons are individuals who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of Sonoma County wine and have helped elevate the global perception of Sonoma County wines. Sonoma County Innovators are visionaries who introduce new methods, ideas or products. They provide new perspectives and new ways of thinking about wine and Sonoma County that help shape the future of our region and our wine industry. All past Icon and Innovator winners are listed online at

This year’s icons and innovators include:

Audrey Sterling, Co-Founder, Iron Horse Vineyards Icon

Audrey Sterling is the matriarch and standard bearer of Iron Horse Vineyards, which she and Barry Sterling founded in 1976. Iron Horse was their vision and they were full partners in everything they did. In the early years, Audrey ran the winery and vineyard while Barry commuted from Los Angeles. It’s hard to remember how pioneering it was to put down roots in western Sonoma County in the mid-1970s. The Sterlings knew the value of a cool climate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their years in France and Audrey knew the area from her childhood summers on the Russian River. They were the pioneers of the Green Valley appellation. In 1983, the name of the applicant for federal recognition of Green Valley as an American Wine Area (AVA) was Audrey M. Sterling with her attorney of record, Barry H. Sterling.

Randy Ullom, Winemaker and Senior Vice President, Kendall-Jackson Icon

A legend of Sonoma County viticulture, Randy Ullom is known as a pioneer of the California Chardonnay movement. Prior to his stint as Winemaster of Kendall-Jackson, Randy served as Vice President, Winemaker at DeLoach Vineyards for over 12 years where he helped grow the brand from four thousand cases to approximately 80 thousand cases of Chardonnay as well as of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and White Zinfandel. Randy is now entering his 29th year with the Jackson family, leading all of Kendall-Jackson’s winemaking operations and signing Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, America’s best-selling chardonnay since 1992. He is part of the wine scene of Sonoma County for years, and his success stems from his deep passion for winemaking, hard work and dedication. Randy is responsible for creating some of the most industry-leading initiatives in wine today, such as the barrel fermentation of nearly every drop of Chardonnay, an unparalleled commitment to winemaking techniques. craftsmanship for a cellar of considerable size.

Benziger family, Benziger family winery Innovator

For more than 30 years, the Benziger family has operated their Sonoma Mountain Ranch, as well as other vineyards, using certified biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. As innovative leaders in sustainability efforts, every wine in their portfolio carries third-party certification of green farming practices. Created with the help of environmental experts, their certified sustainable vineyard program is one of the most comprehensive in the country. The program, which emphasizes environmentally friendly cultivation methods such as biodiversity, soil revitalization and integrated pest management, shows winemakers how to grow grapes with more character, flavor and flavor. aromas with the aim of producing better and truly distinctive wines. Benziger Family Winery was the first winery in Sonoma to be certified biodynamic and all four Benziger Estate vineyards still hold Demeter Biodynamic certification, the highest level of organic farming designed to focus on natural processes for minimal human intervention. . The Benziger family uses their experience and insight to mentor a network of winemakers interested in farming in a way that cares for the land while producing quality wine.

Ames Morison, Co-Founder, Medlock Ames Innovator

Ames Morison is the co-founder of the Medlock Ames winery. He spent three years in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, which reinforced his desire to be a strong supporter of organic agriculture. Ames planted most of his 55-acre vineyard site at Bell Mountain and oversaw construction of the winery. He is a pioneer in the region by practicing organic farming and promoting healthy, living soil that nurtures, nurtures and protects the vines and adopts centuries-old low-impact farming methods like crop diversity, which allow the vineyard to shine. in the fruit. Preservation of the earth is the driving philosophy of Ames, as well as educating its customers and the public about organic farming. The new Bell Mountain immersive sound experience from Medlock Ames offers winery visitors another way to learn about sustainability and organic winemaking practices.

The Sonoma County Barrel Auction is a live auction featuring a one-of-a-kind wine specially designed for licensed members of the trade. This year’s prizes will be announced in March. Trade registration for the 2022 Sonoma County Barrel Auction is by invitation only and open now. To find out more visit or contact [email protected].

The health and safety of our guests, winemakers, sponsors and supplier partners, volunteers and team is of the utmost importance. In addition to following the latest County and State policies and protocols, we have added additional measures for check-in procedures at auction events. Attendees can review the most up-to-date health and safety protocols for the 2022 Sonoma County Barrel Auction at

Proceeds from the Sonoma County Barrel Auction help create Sonoma County Vintners marketing programs and initiatives that support the wine trade and community.

About Sonoma County Winemakers

Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions. Sonoma County Vintners represents more than 200 wineries in the county. The organization actively promotes Sonoma County through education programs; advocates for its members at the local, state and federal levels; and contributes to local communities through our Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. Sonoma County Wine Auction, its annual fundraiser, benefits nonprofits in the area. To learn more about Sonoma County Vintners, visit

About American AgCredit

Founded in 1916, American AgCredit is part of the National Farm Credit System and is the fourth largest farm credit association in the nation. American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oklahoma, as well as capital markets customers in all the countries. Financial services provided by American AgCredit include production and mortgage financing, equipment and vehicle leasing, crop and life insurance, lines of credit, and the Young, Beginner and Small Farmer Program. In addition, the Association offers interest-free loans for qualifying 4-H and FFA AgYouth programs, as well as college scholarships for youth interested in agriculture. Learn more about

About MacMurray Estate Vineyards

With vineyards in California’s most sought-after pinot noir regions, MacMurray Estate Vineyards is synonymous with one of the world’s most famous grape varieties. We grow our grapes where Pinot Noir thrives – in the Russian River Valley and the Central Coast. By carefully nurturing each parcel of vines and making wise choices in the cellar, we create wines that reflect the unique terroir of each estate vineyard while showcasing the elegant flavors of the delicate Pinot Noir grape. Our namesake in the Russian River Valley, the 1,500-acre MacMurray Ranch has a rich farming history dating back to the early 1850s. In 1941, actor Fred MacMurray purchased the ranch as an idyllic family retreat and cattle ranch. In 1996, MacMurray Ranch was transformed to include a world-class winery with 450 acres of pinot noir and pinot gris vines, ushering in a new era for the legendary Sonoma County property. Learn more about

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